It seemed as if the football world had been turned on its ear in the first half on Friday night at Riverview Stadium. Mount Carmel and Washington had already combined for 67 points and almost 700 yards of total offense. In the second quarter alone, five of the seven touchdowns scored came on plays of 50 yards or longer.
Perhaps the strangest thing of all was the halftime score: last-place in the Big 8 Conference Washington 35, first-place and defending league champion Mount Carmel 32.
Then, just as it appeared there would be none of it on this night, sanity made a return to the Snakepit. Mount Carmel’s defense finally took hold in the second half, and the Aces outscored the visitors 28-6, to turn their fortunes around in a 60-41 victory.
"The Big 8 is tough, each and every week," said Golden Aces coach Darren Peach of the win, the Aces’ fourth straight after a loss on opening night.
The triumph sets up a league showdown of 3-0 Big 8 teams on Friday at Jasper. The Wildcats defeated Princeton, 48-14, also on Friday.
As it turns out, the combined total of 101 points scored in the game is a school and stadium record, eclipsing the 96 points in a 96-0 Aces win at Palestine in 1921. The 1,044 yards of total offense between both clubs is also believed to be a school record.
But, things were different in the second half.
"Football is not always perfect. Things weren’t really going for the Aces so much in the first half," Peach said. "But the kids dug down deep, and the defense played much better in the second half." "Our coaches made some great adjustments to take away some of the things they were doing."
The Aces were finally able to slow down Washington running back Trey Parsons. In action for the first time following a 5-game disciplinary suspension, he ran wild with 252 yards and 4 touchdowns on 31 carries.
The Hatchets used Parsons everywhere, including a surprise Wildcat snap which led to a 68-yard TD on the first play of an incredibly wild 46-point second quarter.
"He gives them an explosive element, and he has fantastic vision," said Peach of Parsons.
Mount Carmel [4-1, 3-0] scored on its first two possessions of the second half to open a 46-35 lead, while the Hatchets lost their first two possessions to a fumble and the second of three Aces interceptions.
Still, the Hatchets managed to close the gap to 46-41 on an 8-yard run by Parsons 23 seconds before the end of the 3rd quarter, appearing to give Washington momentum heading into the fourth quarter.
The Aces dashed those hopes seconds later on a 63-yard touchdown run on a counter sweep by Jared Piper, sending the hosts into the final frame with a more comfortable 52-41 lead.
Less than two minutes later, just into the fourth period, Piper was at it again, catching an 18-yard scoring pass from Reece Metcalf to account for the final score.
Washington [2-4, 0-4] had another pass picked off later as the Hatchets watched their upset bid slip away.
Metcalf was 14-of-17 in the air for 244 yards, at one point completing 7 passes in a row. Four of his throws went for scores. He wasn’t picked off, but was sacked once—his first all season. Piper and Levi Laws both led the Aces with four receptions.
In the crazy second quarter, Parsons scored on runs of 68 and 54 yards, while Trey Walls added a 77-yard TD to the Hatchet total.
Sam Wampler, who led the Aces in rushing with 140 yards, scored from 80 yards away, and Laws hauled in a Metcalf pass and danced his way to a 52-yard touchdown.